Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cut and Paste Nightmare

You know it’s not going to turn out well for Plaintiffs when the Court says “at this juncture, the Court notes with great concern that Plaintiff includes the following as footnote 46 in its Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.” What was the footnote, you ask? Well, here it is, and it seems fine, right?

“Defendant Warren signed the Form 10-Qs filed during the Class Period. (Complaint PP 149, 151, 153, 167, 169, 172, 184). The form 10-Ks were signed by defendants Hickey and Van Riper in 1999 (Compl. P143), by defendants Hickey, Van Riper and Warren in 2000 (Compl. P159), and by defendants Hickey, Kelsey and Warren in 2001.”
Oh, but I assure you, it’s not fine. Judge Harold A. Ackerman (D. N.J.) continued, lamenting that “this footnote caused the Court considerable confusion because, as noted above, the SAC makes mention only of Defendants Fass, Sternlicht and Bond.” So, “after a not inconsiderable expenditure of judicial resources, the Court discovered that footnote 46 was also, and more properly, included by Plaintiff's counsel as footnote 26 in its opposition brief to a motion to dismiss filed in Senn v. Hickey, No. 03-4372 (D.N.J. filed April 25, 2005), a case completely unrelated to the present action, with Plaintiff's counsel as the only common de-nominator.” Uh-oh.

You see, “in Senn v. Hickey, there were in fact defendants named Warren, Hickey, Van Riper and Kelsey; there are no such defendants in the instant action. This Court recognizes that the inherent nature of modern litigation and word processing lends itself to some ‘cut-and-pasting’ of boilerplate from one case to the next; this example of duplication, however, is not easily overlooked. The Court urges counsel to exercise greater diligence in its future filings.”

Result? Nothing to do with the footnote (I hope), dismissed with prejudice.

You can read In re Bio-Technology General, issued October 26, 2006, at 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81268.

Nugget: "The chasm this Court must traverse to reach Plaintiff's conclusion is simply too great."

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